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Body found in river confirmed that of suspected drowning victim

Dr. Michael Mthandazo was found deceased in the Thompson River near the float plane dock a few kilometres down river from where he was swept away by a strong current while swimming near McArthur Island.
Dr. Michael Mthandazo moved to Vernon in January 2021, where he worked as a family physician. He drowned in the Thompson River in Kamloops on July 30, 2022.

Kamloops RCMP have confirmed the body pulled from the Thompson River near the float plane dock off Aviation Way Thursday morning (Aug. 11) is that of a Vernon doctor who was presumed drowned.

The body of Dr. Michael Mthandazo was spotted in the water caught in some logs near the dock and reported to police at about 8:30 a.m. RCMP and BC Coroners attended the scene and had cleared by about 10 a.m.

“Since then, the man’s identity has been verified and his family notified of his death,” said Cpl. Crystal Evelyn in a media release.

Police had been searching the river for Mthandazo, a family physician who was playing in a soccer tournament at McArthur Island on July 30 when he was swept away by a strong current when he and his son went swimming in the river near field No. 7. He helped his son out of the river, but was unable to get out himself, went under the water and did not resurface.

According to a Go Fund Me page set up to help raise funds for Mthandazo’s grieving family, his body was found on what would have been his 11th wedding anniversary.

According to the page, which has raised more than $32,000 for the family — Mthandazo’s wife Julia and two children Musa, 11-years, and Lethu, eight months — Mthandazo was born in Botswana and moved to South Africa to pursue a medical degree. He and his family moved to Canada in 2014, first to 100 Mile House and then to Vernon in 2021 where he took over a medical practice caring for thousands of patients.

The family has asked for privacy at this time and police not releasing further details.